Public Health Officials Stress Importance of Being Updated on Vaccinations and Boosters; Vulnerable People Should Exercise Caution in Indoor Spaces
The CDC reported late today that 15 Illinois counties are now rated at High Community Level for COVID-19, an area that includes Chicago, Cook County and surrounding counties in northeastern Illinois as well as counties around Peoria. An additional 30 counties in Illinois are now rated at Medium Community Level, according to the CDC.
The counties listed at High Community Level are Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, Grundy, Boone, Lee and Winnebago in Northern Illinois and Fulton, Knox, Henderson, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell in Central Illinois.
“With 15 counties in Illinois now rated at a High Community Level, everyone in the state should be paying close attention to the guidance from public health authorities and taking action to protect themselves, their loved ones, and friends,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars.
“Everyone should make sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots. Wearing a mask in indoor public places and avoiding crowded indoor spaces as much as possible will also make a difference. If you are at risk of severe outcomes, you should also consider avoiding indoor activities in public places. And if you test positive, promptly contact a healthcare provider to discuss which treatment is right for you. The treatments are much more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths when they are taken early in the course of the illness.”
The CDC recommends the following measures for people in areas that are rated at High Community Level for COID-19 transmission:
• Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
• If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
◦ Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
◦ Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
◦ Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take other precautions
◦ Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
◦ IF YOU TEST POSITIVE: Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, and monoclonal antibodies
• If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
◦ consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
◦ consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
• Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
• Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
At the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, they should make sure to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines or get their 2nd booster, if eligible.
IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.
A total of 22,293,645 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 15,443 doses. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 76% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 69% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and more than 52% of the vaccinated population has an initial booster according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.
All data are provisional and are subject to change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.
Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to www.vaccines.gov.
The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/.